Collecting gaura seeds

gaura flowersThis is a portrait of me fiddling while Rome burns.  Instead of charging through my list of chores this afternoon I stood in the middle of my terrace bank and carefully picked seeds.

Gaura seeds. So much fun. The plants throw up these long flowering stems and as the flowers fade and produce seeds, they cling on to the waving branch.

And if you pick your time right, you can pluck off the ripe brown seeds before they fall to the ground.

But I could easily wait a few weeks more. Only one or two seeds were ripening on each stem.

But I was yearning for something positive, something to say – look I’ve achieved a result. It feels like one of those days.

I will collect more this autumn and then sow the in spring. They germinate brilliantly and I can expect lots of little plants in no time. miscanthus terrace

But wait. Why am I collecting more gaura seeds and planning next year when I have a garden of the plants? They are all over the oak bank and on the terrace bank. A good drought tolerant do-er.

Because the established plants don’t transplant well. I found that out this afternoon when I uprooted a few of the large established plants in the terrace bank and planned on taking them elsewhere.

It was a complete disaster.

The terrace bank is an area which anyone would call A Project. Or as I like to call it ‘A Complete Disaster’.

sedum terraces 1It’s a mess. Too many plants bunged in and rather neglected. I can pretend and call it the nursery bed where I am trialing plants to see how they cope in the no soil, no water conditions. But it’s just always one project too far. The vegetable gardens and orchards take up so much of my time that I rarely get round to this out of the way part of the garden.

I had a good hard look at it today. Well, I was gazing at Artur through the dirty windows of the potting shed close by to see if he would come out and play. But no, so I had to stare at my less than perfect garden instead.

I need to get all the gaura out – they are way too tall. And try and move the huge miscanthus that has taken root in the middle terrace and is also way too tall for the sloping site. It distracts from the hedge behind. arturpottingshed

I am trying to turn this bank into a sedum and santolina bank. They seem to be the drought tolerant plants that will thrive here. And maybe keep the valerian and a few other things.

You can see the sedums are starting to pink up. Here’s hoping they go more crimson over the next few weeks. I’m not a fan of the fey pale colour.

We have had the most fantastic weekend of rain – five and a half inches of rain over two nights of wild storms and drama (143mm).

So I thought it would be the right moment to lift some deeply rooted plants and get them into some moist soil.

sedum terracesBut what a shock. All that rain and when I dug down into the oak bank and the step garden to place some of the uprooted gaura it was dry as dust just an inch down.  There’s no pleasing this garden. Not even a deluge will give things a soak.

What I need to do is accept that these large plants are going onto the compost heap. I can’t transplant them.  But before they go I’ll wait until I can harvest all the seeds. That way I won’t feel so bad about treating like a disposable crop.

I am going to need to be ruthless if I’m to make this tricky part of the garden a more successful design.